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 Post subject: The City of Chelyabinsk
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 27 Aug 2011 22:20 
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The City of Chelyabinsk

Chelyabinsk is a city in Russia, located just to the east of the Ural Mountains, on Miass River. It is the administrative center of Chelyabinsk Oblast. Population: 1,130,300.

Fortress Chelyaba, from which the city takes its name, was constructed on the site in 1736; the city was incorporated in 1781. Around 1900, it served as a center for the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. According to official statistics the population on 1 January 1913 was 45,000 inhabitants. In the decades after the Finnish Civil War in 1918, some 15,000 "Red" Finns defected into the Soviet Union. Most of them were transferred to Chelyabinsk via railway. In 1938, during the great purges, most of them were executed. Their mass grave is located near the Zolonyi Gora's former gold mine, and today bears a small memorial.

During the Soviet industrialization of the 1930s, Chelyabinsk experienced rapid growth. Several industrial establishments, including the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant and the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant, were built at this time. During World War II, Joseph Stalin decided to move a large part of Soviet factory production to places out of the way of the advancing German armies in late 1941. This brought new industries and thousands of workers to Chelyabinsk—still essentially a small city. Several enormous facilities for the production of T-34 tanks and Katyusha rocket launchers existed in Chelyabinsk, which became known as "Tankograd" (Tank City). Chelyabinsk was essentially built from scratch during this time. A small town existed before this, signs of which can be found in the centre of the city. The S.M. Kirov Factory no. 185 moved here from Leningrad to produce heavy tanks — it was transferred to Omsk after 1962.

Chelyabinsk has had a long association (since the 1940s) with top-secret nuclear research, though this is more properly applicable to Chelyabinsk Oblast as a whole, as nuclear facilities such as Chelyabinsk-70 (Snezhinsk) are, or were, located far outside the city. A serious nuclear accident occurred in 1957 at the Mayak nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, 150 km north-west of the city, which caused deaths in Chelyabinsk Oblast but not in the city.

The province was closed to all foreigners until 1992.

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A view from the tallest building in the city, that locals named “Chelyabinsk city”.

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A view from the roof of the South Ural State University.

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In the late 1940's, about 80 kilometers north of the city of Chelyabinsk, an atomic weapons complex called "Mayak" was built. Its existence has only recently been acknowledged by Russian officials. Mayak, bordered to the west by the Ural Mountains, and to the north by Siberia, was the goal of Gary Powers's surveillance flight in May of 1960.

For forty-five years, the Chelyabinsk province of Russia was closed to all foreigners. Only in January of 1992 did President Boris Yeltsin sign a decree changing that. As a result, western scientists who studied the region, declared Chelyabinsk to be the most polluted spot on earth.

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